Lentil Salad.jpeg

1 pound bag dried lentils (any color, I use Camellia Brand)
3 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 sweet onion, peeled and finely diced
1 red pepper, cored and finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (or more and any hot pepper to your liking)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
3 Limes, enough for 1/4 cup juice and extra wedges for garnish
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1-2 scallions, chopped
Bibb lettuce for serving
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse and sort lentils (picking out the scrawny ones). In a large stockpot, heat 10 cups of water. Add bay leaves and thyme. (I do not use seasoning, broth, etc. because I want just the flavor of the lentils). Add the lentils and simmer for 20 minutes and test for doneness. Be careful!!!!!!! Do not overcook because you want the lentils to maintain their integrity. YOU DO NOT WANT  MUSH! But check often for doneness. Drain immediately in colander and shake to release heat. Let cool.

Meanwhile, chop the carrots, onion, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic and place in a mixing bowl. Add the cooled lentils and mix with your hands or shake the bowl to mix. Be careful not to break up the beans. Make the dressing with 1/4 cup each of the lime juice and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over ingredients in bowl and mix. Sprinkle with parsley, mint, and mix. To serve, place Bibb lettuce in a large dish or in individual salad bowls and top with the lentil salad. Garnish with chopped scallions and lime wedges.

Can be served as a side dish, warm, room temperature, or cold. Making a day ahead only adds to the flavor! *The Caribbean locals turn up the heat and spice in their food. In fact they eat it “Hotter than Hell” (the name of a book by Jane Butel). The belief is…I was told…that the hot spice makes you '“sweat out the toxins” and my guide’s grandmother was 106 years old…just sayin’